Additive manufacturing (AM) has revolutionized the plastic industry with its rapid prototype fabrication, part authentication and design flexibility. Selective laser sintering (SLS) is one such AM technique that is capable of manufacturing multiple complex shaped parts with no tooling or molds found with conventional extrusion-injection processes. As well, compared to fused deposition modeling (FDM), SLS has advantages in terms of its dimensional accuracy, complete infill, hollow or imbedded structures, throughput, self-supporting powder, and finish of the 3D printed parts. One of the downsides to SLS is the reusability of the un-sintered powder over many printing cycles, in which it degrades and can no longer be used. To offset the amount of polymer waste from SLS printing along with increasing the biobased content within the parts themselves, the use of sustainable biomass-derived carbon (biocarbon) had been added in increasing increments. The research focuses on formulations of polyamide 12 (PA12) powder mixed with biocarbon powder at ratios of 2, 5, and 10 wt.% inclusion. The biocomposites produced from SLS 3D printing were prepared into ASTM test specimens for performance analysis. The morphological, thermal, and mechanical properties were analyzed to determine the effect biocarbon had on the performance. The results demonstrated that with 5 wt.% biocarbon the impact strength was 33 J/m, with an increase in tensile and flexural strength by 4 and 21% respectively, while also improving the Youngâs modulus by 15% and flexural modulus by 19% over the neat PA12 SLS 3D printed sample.
Acknowledgements: The authors are thankful to: (I) Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade ORF-RE09-078 (Project Nos 053970 and 054345); (ii) the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), University of Guelph, Bioeconomy Industrial Uses Research Program Theme Project #030252 and 030485; the (iii) the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada Research Chair (CRC) program Project No. 460788; and the NSERC Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) grant for their financial support.